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A bass that took and hour and change to bring to hand...

Posted: September 7th, 2014, 8:42 am
by Tim Borski
I love the sound of a good super braid snapping tight on a calm summer evening.

My son Josef and I are in bass mode and ignoring all (most anyway) our local targets in the salt down here where we live in the keys. Josef’s story began last December when he hooked and nearly landed an estimated 13lber on the ridiculously tiny ultralight spinning rod he insists on using for our resident Peacock bass a county or two to the north. The fish is to this day the largest I’ve seen. We talked about it and he decided we should make a concerted effort to find, hook and subdue an honest Dade county ten lber. That’s a tall order this far south but we agreed to pursue “it” until it happened. We did a little research and a whole lot of recon and finally eliminated lakes we felt didn’t have the potential and began fishing the ones we felt did have a chance to produce that ‘one bite’ we wanted.

Fast forward a few months…we decided that any body of water that gave us an honest 8 at this time of the year (high summer) would have the one we were looking for next Spring.

We’ve got some good ones along the way and feel it’s just a matter of time.

A month or so ago while drifting/fishing the edge of a rocky bank we looked down into the water at a place where the rubble had fallen on the bank and rolled into the deep clear water. There, plainly visible, were 4 enormous bass…they were so big I dismissed them as carp until one flashed a side and we both saw it was a bass for real. We of course spooked them as we drifted by but I boinked the numbers on the gps and we returned another day. We saw between 2 and 4 every visit but they were tough. One evening after our 6th visit or so, it happened.

Here’s how it all went down:

We quickly found that we if we parked the skiff on shore a few hundred yards away and then snuck, crouched over all the way to the zone we could peek over the bank, confirm they were there and back away until conditions were good. They were there. It was still a couple hours before sunset so we went back to the skiff, had a snack and some water and waited…When the sun hit the horizon we were back and ready. I was on one side of an inlet near the rock slide. Josef took the far shoreline (not all that far) His thought was that if they saw our baits from a different angle it might work. I was crouched at where we’d seen the fish but the visibility was bad and I couldn’t locate them. We’d talked several times earlier about doing them after dark but were uncertain of the strong possibility of them moving elsewhere to forage for the night. Anyhoo, we decided at first full dark was prob our best bet.

The sun hits the horizon, I’m not getting a visual clue as to where they are and am watching; being patient. Just then a “kerplunk” lands near the shoreline only thirty feet from where I’m crouched. It’s Josef’s 12” old monster magnum worm…He’s cast it almost 75 yards across the inlet. At first I didn’t know whether to be pissed or proud. I was mulling this over when I heard the braid snap tight in the still evening. I then hear him curse under his breath: “Sh!t! It’s HER…”
Me: “You ok?”
Josef: “Maybe. I think she’s got me hung on the concrete…I feel her shaking her head but can’t move her.”
I set my rod down, ran over to him and could see immediately he was correct. I held the rod and told him to run for the skiff and bring some lights! (We always hunt snakes on the way home so my skiff typically looks like a Fenix light warehouse.) (-: He returns and we both put lights on. I run back to the other side and see that this is big trouble. There’s not only a concrete wall but also a chain-link fence that is hanging over the water. It looks dangerously fragile. The water is warm and swimming would be an option except a quick scan of the water with my light shows too many sets of red eyes. As I’m shining my light along the wall, I see her!! She’s swimming calmly and patiently in a slow side to side movement about a foot under the water roughly 35 feet away. I follow the line up above her and see it is indeed stuck right over the top of the wall. I relay all info to Josef and then run back to him.

Josef hooked the fish at sunset and it is now way past full dark. The bugs arrive in full force right on time and I send Josef back to the skiff to get a big Spooltek lure that I can possibly snag his line from “my” side and pull the fish off the obstruction or maybe even to my side? I of course tell him to bring the bug dope…the tiny little salt marsh skeeters are getting worse by the second.

He takes off at full tilt and I hear him clomping down the bank. I’m hoping he doesn’t step on one of the abundant resident Cottonmouths. I then can hear him rummaging around in the skiff and he shouts (way too loud for how still the night is) “I don’t see the lures?!” I tell him to throw on a headlight and look in the box marked “BASS.” I see the light and a couple seconds later I relays that he’s found them! Again, clomping up the bank and he returns all out of breathe. He’s panting like a dog and we take turns applying the DEET. I hand him the rod, throw on a light and sprint for the other side where the bass was hanging in the current. By now we’ve been on this fish for 45 minutes! She’s still there and swimming as easily and calmly as ever. I hated the thought of crashing a spendy lure into concrete so I pitched it a easily as I could. One cast, nothing. Two casts, nothing but on my third attempt I came tight! I figured that the braid was only stuck on the nose of the lure and figured I have to try again but when I pulled nice and easy the fish began to come my way!! 55 minutes into it…bugs are forgotten and fish is in my light coming towards me. I Tell Josef to take the line off the roller of his Vanstaal, keep the line in his fingers and let it slide when I pull it out. Initially we agreed that I’d try to get the fish unstuck and then let him reel it in but while shining my like 30 or so feet away, I saw a place I could possibly get down to the bank and ease her into my hand. I relayed this info to him and he said “DO IT!!” So I did. Once the fish was in hand, I had him set his rod down and sprint on over for a few quick pics before release. He did and we did. Josef looked at me and said: “Jeez Dad that was easier than I thought it would be.” We had a good laugh 1 hour and 5 minutes after the initial hook set.

The fish was 26 15/16” and weighed in on a digital scale at 9.65 LBs. Next winter she'll be the one we want for sure! (Btw, she’s got a unique mark on her flank between the dorsal and anal fins near the back of them. It looks almost like a spot on a Redfish’ tail. We’ll know if we ever encounter her again. ‘Keep ya posted…

Sorry this was so long winded. Here’s Josef with his personal best.



Re: A bass that took and hour and change to bring to hand...

Posted: September 7th, 2014, 11:47 am
by BillMcGighan
Big Congrats.
Great story.
Lifetime memory for you and your son. :thumb: :thumb:

Re: A bass that took and hour and change to bring to hand...

Posted: September 7th, 2014, 6:56 pm
by pete
Fantastic story! The fish is even better :thumb: !!!!
Have you ever considered adopting a 50ish kid? ;)
I like your parenting! You and your kids are very lucky to share so much!

Re: A bass that took and hour and change to bring to hand...

Posted: September 8th, 2014, 7:17 am
by SnakeStick
I'd seen the photo, but I hadnt heard the story. Excellent! Congrats to both of you!

Re: A bass that took and hour and change to bring to hand...

Posted: September 9th, 2014, 7:11 am
by Tim Borski
Thanks guys! An hour and change is a long time to dick around with a bass but we got her in the end and she swam away strongly. :thumb: